7 min read

Why Do Dogs Need A Schedule?

It's the secret to dog training 📝🐶💪

If you don’t already have a daily schedule for your dog, it’s time to think about implementing one.

Not only do dogs love having that structure and those expectations in place, but it’ll also help you be much more successful in dog training.

While it might be a little more work in the beginning, it’s important to develop a daily routine because, just like humans, dogs thrive off of clarity and consistency.

“In fact, having both of these elements is the only way to find success in dog training,” Natalie Dobkins, training director at Canine Performance told The Dodo.

There isn’t a “quick fix” or a “short cut” to get where you want to be with your dog — it’ll take some hard work, strategy and — you guessed it — a schedule.

Why’s a dog schedule important?

Ultimately, your daily habits and routine are going to impact your dog’s behavior and habits the most.

“If you want your dog’s behaviors to improve and develop as quickly as possible, you have to practice it daily through a lifestyle change to see lasting results with your dogs training,” Dobkins said. “Developing a daily routine with your dog is the best way to ensure that you turn intentional training into a long-lasting habit.”

Benefits to having a schedule for your dog include:

  • Dogs thrive off of consistency
  • It helps reduce anxiety by knowing what’s expected
  • It helps when housetraining your pup
  • Scheduled meals helps prevent weight gain
  • It helps be successful in training

But keep in mind that you don’t want to become TOO rigid — for example, your dog should know she’ll eat at roughly the same time each morning, but it doesn’t need to be at 7 a.m. on the dot every single way. This way she’ll know what to expect, but she won’t get anxious whenever there’s a slight schedule change. 

What should my dog’s schedule look like?

According to Dobkins, no one can give you an answer as to what exactly your routine should look like with your dog — because it’ll depend on your personal daily routine, combined with what’s best for your individual pup. Your daily schedule can include things like all mealtimes, bedtime, walks, grooming, training sessions, outdoor play time, etc.

But she does have a couple of recommendations.

“We recommend that your routine includes, at minimum, one structured walk per day and [one] hand-feeding session where you can use your dog's regular meal as an opportunity to train,” Dobkins said.

What’s a structured walk?

These are walks that you go on where your main objective is to have your dog walk calmly on a loose leash — no pulling, no tugging and no dragging you around to sniff that one tree. 

Structured walks are a great opportunity to train your dog, and also boost his confidence while he does what’s expected of him — making sure to have plenty of yummy treats to reward him with.

What’s a hand-feeding session?

This just means that you’re using your pup’s dry kibble from one of his meals as an opportunity to train. Using his kibble as his “treat” when doing indoor or outdoor training gives you a chance to bond and give your dog plenty of mental enrichment (without expanding his waistline).

While you develop your routine, remember that all dogs learn and develop at different paces. “Some of them will take longer to learn certain skills, and will need more time being consistent than others,” Dobkins said.

Whatever it may be, don’t compare your journey with someone else’s — yours is special, just like your pup.

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